Friday, August 5, 2011

A Days Wage

Last week I took my boys to VBS at one of the satellite campuses of our church. Driving to the church, I pass a place where day laborers congregate waiting for work. It is an ever present reminder of how many people are wanting to work. These men want are willing to do hard, manual labor for a days wage. I don't like having to do too many loads of laundry in one day. I may be able to check off a to do list and keep my family in clean clothes but I have never been accused of being a hard worker, at least not when it came to getting dirty and sweaty. I am happy to do the heavy lifting when it comes to being in air conditioned rooms with a computer screen and books to read.

So driving by these day laborers I am aware of how blessed I am to be able to be with my boys and write a little. I do not understand why God choose to provide me more than I need materially and why other people cannot find work. But I am beginning to see that God's generosity is not in the material provisions but in his spiritual provision. The peace I feel in my life does not come from having, because I felt this same peace when my family lost our home and we had to move in with family friend's a state away. (That story is coming in the My Story series.) This peace comes from following God's lead, wherever it takes me. It might mean moving. It might mean waiting tables to pay for college or making bricks on a mission trip. It might mean giving more or learning to be content with having more.

God's generosity is not in what he gives but in who he is. He is generous. Seeing these day laborers day after day waiting for work reminded me of the story Jesus tells in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard in Matthew 20:1 - 16. I do not want to be the grumbling one who has worked all day. I want to celebrate God's generosity not matter who is the recipient.
  “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
    “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
   “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
    “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
   “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
    “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
    “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
    “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
    “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” 
I am learning that my place in line doesn't matter. I just want to be in the line.

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